The historical Voluntarios Internacionales de la Libertad marker in James Madison Park was tagged with racist graffiti this week.
According to our sister station WISC-TV, Madison police said the marker was tagged with swastikas in red spray paint, along with the phrases “Trump Rules” and “Antifa Sucks.” A passerby reported the graffiti to police Wednesday morning.
Madison Mayor Paul Soglin asked those responsible to come forward, and told WISC, “striking in silence and in the shadows lies in the heart of cowards and fools”
Soglin also paralleled the graffiti with the events in Charlottesville, Virginia last month, involving a white supremacist rally.
“Given the enabling rhetoric from Donald Trump, particularly since Charlottesville, we know that vicious racist and Nazi attacks have increased,” Soglin said. “While we know that over 99 percent of the people of Madison abhor and reject this terrible act, let it stand as a reminder that there are always a few ignorant people who would destroy our liberty and rights."
The marker is dedicated to international volunteers who fought in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s, many of whom came from Wisconsin, officials told WISC-TV.
Also, Wednesday at sundown is the start of the Jewish holiday Rosh Hashanah.
The Madison Parks Department said the graffiti has since been removed without damage to the monument.
Madison police are also investigating graffiti to the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial outside the state Capitol. Someone spray painted “#Justice4AnthonySmith” on the memorial on Saturday, following a judge acquitted former St. Louis police officer Jason Stockley who shot and killed Smith in 2011, prompting protests.